Brooklyn Boro

Liberty shoot for third straight win

Host Dream after back-to-back 100-point performances

June 13, 2023 John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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The New York Liberty are looking forward to three for Tuesday in Downtown Brooklyn.

As in three straight wins via 100-point performances.

The WNBA’s “Superteam” is coming off Sunday’s 102-93 victory over Dallas at Barclays Center, which came two days after the Liberty stormed through Atlanta with a 106-93 triumph.

Winners of six of their last seven contests, the Liberty (6-2) will host the Dream (2-5) on the corner of Atlantic and Flatbush Tuesday night after reaching the century mark in points in consecutive games for the first time in franchise history.

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New York clipped the Wings with a 34-point third quarter Sunday, with early season Most Valuable Player candidate Breanna Stewart pouring in 13 of her game-high 32 points during that 10-minute spurt.

Sabrina Ionescu added 22 points for the Liberty after putting up a career-high 37 points Friday in Atlanta, an effort that saw her knock down a team-record eight 3-pointers.

Courtney Vandersloot put up 15 points and had 10 of New York’s season-high 31 assists as this unit continued to improve under the tutelage of head coach Sandy Brondello.

“We showed that in the third quarter,” Brondello said of her team’s toughness following intermission. “We knew this was going to be a high-scoring game.”

Liberty head coach Sandy Brondello has watched her team win six of its last seven games entering Tuesday night’s matchup with Atlanta in Brooklyn. AP Photo by Lindsey Wasson

Marine Johannes finished with 12 points and Betnijah Laney had 10 for New York, which used a 19-5 run spanning the third and fourth periods to pull away for good.

“As this group has come together, we’re having an awareness of where one another is,” said Stewart, who went 10-of-15 from the floor and didn’t attempt a single free throw.

“We continue to find the open person.”

After squandering a 19-point lead in the second half of a home loss to Chicago on June 4, and having their game against Minnesota last Wednesday postponed due to air quality issues, the Liberty appear to have hit their stride.

Brondello, however, has charged her unit with the responsibility of living up to its preseason hype by not reading too much into its press clippings.

“We don’t want to lose two games at home. Last time we were here and we lost to Chicago, we remembered that,” she said. “We want to stay at the top of the ladder.”

Stewart, 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones and Vandersloot came here this past offseason to help New York aspire to its first-ever championship.

Ionescu and Laney are both returning All-Stars to a roster that continues to jell here in Brooklyn.

Whether the Liberty can eclipse 100 points again Tuesday is certainly in doubt. Nor is it the goal of a team looking to pile up wins for playoff positioning.

But the way they have begun to play collectively of late could spell trouble for the Dream, who have dropped three in a row and four their last five.

“There’s never gonna be a game of 40 minutes of perfect basketball,” noted Ionescu. “That’s not realistic. That third quarter is probably the closest we’re gonna get.”

Nyara Sabally, Sabrina Ionescu and Courtney Vandersloot are enjoying the Liberty’s recent scoring surge and winning streak. AP Photo by Lindsey Wasson

GIVE ME LIBERTY: Though she didn’t score a single one of New York’s 102 points during her nine minutes of court time Sunday, Liberty forward Nyara Sabally experienced something very special against Dallas. Her sister, Satou Sabally, is a member of the Wings and the two played against one another as professionals for the first time. Satou scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Dalllas while Nyara pulled down four boards in the victory. … After hosting the Dream, the Liberty will close out this three-game homestand Sunday vs. Phoenix. The game will be televised on CBS at noon.

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